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July 29, 2014
General Mills to Report on Supply Chain Emissions
    by Robert Kropp

The company agrees to report on and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain, joins Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy, and becomes a signatory to the Climate Declaration.

In a briefing paper published in May, Oxfam pointed out that the ten largest food and beverage companies emit significant levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Furthermore, “they are failing to use their experience, leadership, and power to transform their own industry and push for the level of climate action the world needs...these companies should be fully aware of the impact that climate change is having on the planet's food system.”

To help exert pressure on food and beverage companies to act, Oxfam created the Behind the Brands campaign. The campaign is designed to inform consumers about the agricultural sourcing practices of the world's largest companies in the food and beverage sector, and encourage citizens to petition the companies to improve their practices.

Oxfam's campaign announc ed a major victory this week, when General Mills became “the first major food and beverage company to promise to implement long-term science-based targets to cut emissions from across all of its operations and supply chains that are responsive to the goal of keeping global temperature rise below 2°C.”

Like other companies in the industry, the vast majority of General Mills' emissions come from its supply chains, so its commitment to reducing Scope 3 emissions is especially significant.

In addition to reporting on and reducing emissions in its supply chain, General Mills will also attempt “to achieve zero net deforestation in high-risk supply chains by 2020,” Oxfam reported. “This expands its previous commitments for palm oil and packaging fiber to include other supply chains at high risk for deforestation and land degradation including, beef, soy and sugarcane.”

Verification of the company's emissions reduction strategy will be further strengthened by its agreement to report to CDP.

General Mills also announced that it has joined Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), an initiative organized by Ceres whose corporate members publicly advocate for effective climate change policies. Thirty-one leading companies have joined BICEP thus far.

“BICEP members have been vocal proponents of renewable energy, greener transportation, and stricter pollution controls on power plants,” Ceres stated.

“Science-based evidence underscores the urgency to take action and form effective and efficient climate and energy policies,” said Ken Powell, General Mills Chairman and CEO.

General Mills has also signed the Climate Declaration, which asserts, “Tackling climate change is one of America's greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century.” Launched in 2013 with 33 corporate members, the declaration now has over 700 signatories. The corporate signatories are "calling for Congress to address climate change by promoting clean energy, boosting efficiency and limiting carbon emissions – strategies that these businesses already employ within their own operations."

“With General Mills’ global commitment to sustainable sourcing and the work it is doing to reduce GHG emissions in its direct operations and in agriculture, the company brings a lot to the table,” Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres, said. “We are certain General Mills will be an effective advocate for strong climate and energy policies.”


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